The sun is shining, and the weather is still warm – it’s a perfect time to prepare your home for fall. Why so early? Because your best defense against winter pest activity is taking precautions before the weather gets cool.
While we may welcome autumnal weather after a hot summer, pests take this seasonal change as a sign they need to find a winter shelter to help keep them out of harm’s way. The ideal shelter for pests is warm with easy access to food and water. And your home fits all of their criteria, making it the perfect target.
Watch out for Overwintering Pests
Commonly referred to as overwintering pests, pests that pass through or wait out the winter season, are likely to enter your home to protect themselves from the cold weather. Overwintering pests include stink bugs, boxelders, and lady beetles. The threat of other pests like rodents, flies, ants, and stinging insects, however, doesn’t disappear with summer’s weather. Colder weather increases a potential problem with each of these pests:
- Stink bugs make their way indoors as fall arrives in order to find cozy overwintering areas to hide within your house.
- Boxelder bugs can become a nuisance to homeowners as they invade in large numbers through cracks and crevices.
- Lady beetles leave their summer feeding sites in yards, fields, and forests to spend the winter in protected places, like the warm sunlit walls of your home.
- Rodents can enter your home through the tiniest of holes, bringing with them diseases and potential harm to the structure of your property and electrical wires.
- Flies find the south- and west-facing walls of your home attractive when in search of heat – and when overwintering, a warm day may bring them out of hiding.
- Ants often move their colonies into the walls of your home or beneath a slab foundation to escape the chill.
- Stinging insects may enter your home while trying to feed the many mouths in their summer nests. This happens as temperatures drop and food sources dwindle.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help protect your home from these seasonal pests, like addressing home maintenance and identifying any services you may need before the fall chill fully sets in. Creating a schedule can also help you manage your home maintenance needs. Our experts at Western suggest following these tips to plan, schedule, and complete your fall home maintenance efforts with ease.
Take Pre-Fall Precautions
Start your fall home maintenance by surveying for any entryways for existing pest activity which may need professional services. First, conduct a thorough exterior inspection for cracks and crevices, especially near utilities and pipes, where pests may enter. Inspect window tracts and screens for gaps or holes and replace damaged screens as soon as possible. Note gaps under doors to the outside and consider installing a door sweep to help keep pest entry points to a minimum. Carefully examine the pavement surrounding your home, such as sidewalks, patios, and driveways, for ant colonies. And don’t forget to check garages, sheds, and exterior walls, which are ideal spots for wasp nests.
Checking attic insulation should also be on your fall maintenance list. Pests can make their way into your home by chewing through insulation and some pests, like cockroaches, may use insulation as a home and meal source. Plus, poor insulation can result in higher energy costs and other issues. Consider an insulation program like ThermoZone® that contains all-natural borates, which help repel pests.
When identifying pest activity, keep a record of what you observe. Call your pest management provider to service your home and help establish the proper foundation for effective pest-preventing fall maintenance. Involving your provider can not only help ensure your home stays pest-free, but their expertise can help you avoid exposure to injury. For example, if you think you’ve found a wasp nest, take caution, as DIY maintenance could unintentionally place you in harm’s way – all the more reason to call your provider to schedule service for your home.
Since late summer and early fall are the optimal time to treat for these pests, your Western Pest Services technician can point out ways in which occasional invaders can come into your home and make personalized recommendations to help exclude these critters.
Continue Maintenance Throughout the Fall
For many homeowners, decorating for the season is one of the best parts of fall. From scarecrows to pumpkins and gourds, this is the time of year to get your home ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving. However, some of your favorite decorations could possibly be giving pests easy access into your home.
When you’re bringing any decorations out of storage, it’s best to check them for pests that may have been hiding inside boxes and crates. Before introducing any of your previous year’s decorations, take everything outside and dust it off while also inspecting for potential critters. Pay careful attention to piles of straw, firewood, and scarecrows, as pests like these decorations best. Popular fall plants, such as mums, may also bring some insects onto your property. Also, keep in mind that pumpkins and gourds can attract pests who snack on them.
In addition to taking pest precautions with decorations, inspect the exterior of your home biweekly to confirm that your precautions are still in place, and don’t forget about your landscaping. Always keep landscaping cut back 1-2 feet from your home’s exterior to detract pests and keep them outdoors. Also, if plants in your garden or around your property are past their prime, pull them out, and be sure to remove any leaves or lawn debris from your garden or lawn area. And remember, if you locate a pest presence, be sure to contact your pest management provider.
Proper fall maintenance and the right pest management services can help keep your home pest-free. Using these tips as a guide, you’ll be on the path to enjoy the changing seasons without the interruption of unwanted pests.